Editor’s note: Roy Eduardo Kokoyachuk is a managing partner at ThinkNow Research, Los Angeles. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “How does market research stay relevant in a big data world?”

Big data is one of the newest buzzwords to captivate brands and agencies attempting to infuse their marketing campaigns and innovation strategies with fresh insights. As with most buzzwords, the concept behind them isn’t new. Big data has been around for over a decade. But the influx of venture capital and subsequent startups in the MarTech and AdTech spaces harnessing big data is starting to reach a fever pitch. Will traditional marketing research firms be pushed out or can yet another existential crisis force us to ask ourselves, “How do we stay relevant?”

Interestingly, the answer lies by examining some of the largest data companies in the world – Facebook and Google. One may ask, isn’t Facebook a social network? Isn’t Google a search engine? Yes. But their underlying business models and what drives real value and dollars is the massive amounts of data they collect. And all the products built on top of their data infrastructures are aimed at giving us a richer user experience while allowing advertisers to target us more precisely.

Facebook and Google are the biggest big data companies on the playground. Facebook processes over 500 terabytes of data every day and Google is now close to processing 200 petabytes of data every day, yet they are still asking traditional survey questions of their users. Why?

Sure, you could thumb your nose and taunt, “If you have so much data, shouldn’t you already have a 360-degree understanding of your users?” But here’s a better idea. To understand why Facebook and Google are still relying on traditional marketing research surveys, let’s look at what type of questions they are asking.

Have you ever seen these questions...